The Malta Independent 10 April 2020, Friday

Canicross, Trail Running with Four-Legged Partners: First edition to take place on Sunday 8th March

Maria Vella--Galea Tuesday, 21 January 2020, 10:45 Last update: about 4 months ago

Local Triathlete and animal lover Fabio Spiteri has recently launched the first edition of CaniCross, which is the sport of cross country running with dogs.

Originating in Europe as off-season training for the mushing (sledding) community, it has become popular as a stand-alone sport all over Europe, especially in the UK.  Not only can all breeds run but people of all ages and abilities can take part, including children and persons with a disability as the visually impaired.The event is scheduled to take place on Sunday 8th March and consists of a 5km course for adults and a 1km course for children.  Participants are free to run and walk, depending on their dog.

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Throughout the event, which will take place at L-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa, a number of marshalls on bicycles will be going through the route to ensure that here won't be any mishandling of dogs, especially in cases where the dog refuses to run but wants to walk. Each participant will have individual electronic timing. A race number will be given closer to the date.

"Some breeds are very well suited to not only running and pulling but running at steady pace over a long distance, others are more suited to walk, but irrespective of that, we look forward to welcoming all to this event" explained Fabio Spiteri. "This is a great family day out, and we already have received a good response. For safety purposes we are limiting entries to 200. In just a few hours after its launch, we are nearly half way there, so things are looking good."

Whilst there is an element of competition to this event, one of the main objectives is to encourage people and their four legged friends to take part in outdoor activities and meet other like-minded individuals.

The event will also see a number of dogs from local animal shelters taking part. They will be wearing a T-Shirt "Adopt Me" in the hope that they might find their forever home on the day.

Entrance fee is €10 for adults and €5 for children. 10% of the fee will be donated to the Abandoned Animals Association. Furthermore, Saracino's Cafe will be setting up on the day and all proceeds from food and drinks will also go to the Association. Water will be distributed to dogs before and after the event.

A medal will be given to all finishers whilst the top three finishers will be given vouchers which can be exchanged at All for Pets Market and Burmula Wine Bar.

The organisers are grateful for the support provided by All for Pets Market, Burmula Wine Bar, Saracino Catering for food on the day and Nyoo for isotonic drinks.

For more information and to register, one is to send an email to [email protected].

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